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National Govt & Politics
US officials: Russia hacked GOP election data, but did not release it

US officials: Russia hacked GOP election data, but did not release it

US officials: Russia hacked GOP election data, but did not release it
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

US officials: Russia hacked GOP election data, but did not release it

Several days after the release of a report on election meddling by Russian intelligence, U.S. Intelligence officials told Senators that Russia also targeted Republican groups and the Republican National Committee, but unlike the materials taken from Democratic officials, Moscow did not publicly release any of that material.

"There were successful penetrations of some groups and campaigns - particularly on the state level on the Republican side of the aisle," said FBI Director James Comey, who said Russia also got in to old email domains of the Republican National Committee which he said were "no longer in use."

But, U.S. officials did not detect any successful moves by the Russians against Donald Trump or national Republicans in 2016.

"We did not develop any evidence that the Trump campaign, or the current RNC, was successfully hacked," Comey added.

At a hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee, the FBI Director said there were Russian "intrusions" in state voter registration databases - but that officials still weren't sure what the goal was.

"There was no doubt that the Russians attacked, intruded and took data from some of those systems," the FBI chief said.

Overall, U.S. officials once more said that the plan to undermine the elections went right to the top, and Russian leader Vladimir Putin.

"The goals of this campaign were to undermine public faith in the U.S. democratic process, denigrate Secretary Clinton, and to harm her electability and potential presidency," said Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

"That was their goal - to sow doubt about the efficacy of our system and to cast aspersions on our political system," said Clapper.

"In the end, what they really wanted to see was Americans fighting against each other, bickering over these things," said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), who said it seemed to him that Russia achieved its goal.

"Neither political party should take this lightly," Rubio said. "This involves whether we or not we are going to allow someone to actively interfere in our political discourse and divide as a nation against each other."

Originally, the effort was anti-Hillary Clinton, but then morphed more into supporting Donald Trump as the campaign wore on.

"They thought he was a fringe candidate," Clapper said of the initial Russian view of Trump.

There was one other item of note from the hearing, as the FBI Director was asked about the email servers that had been compromised at the Democratic National Committee.

"Were you given access to do the forensics on those servers?" asked Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC).

"We were not," Comey said, relating that a "highly respected private company eventually got access, and shared with us what they saw there."

Comey acknowledged that was not the ideal situation for investigation, adding fuel to the fire of critics who say this investigation is lacking in detail.

The FBI Director was also pressed on whether there is any investigation going on to explore links between Russian Intelligence and the Trump campaign.

Comey refused to offer up anything of note.

"I would never comment on investigations, whether we have one or not, in an open forum like this," Comey said, as he was swiftly pressed for more by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR).

"The American people have a right to know the answer to this question before January 20," Wyden said.

"I hope that you will make a declassified statement," Wyden added.

But Comey wasn't budging.

"Sir, I will ask any question you ask, but the answer will likely be the same as I just gave you; I can't talk about," as Comey did not rule out the possibility of that the FBI has been looking at any Trump ties to Russian interests.

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